Category Archives: Random Thoughts

4 Steps To Knowing God’s Will (PART 3)


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PART 3

(Click here to see other posts in this series as they’re posted)

Be Sure You’re Faithful With What You Have!

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10

As I speak to young people who want to find God’s will for their lives, sometimes it strikes me as odd that they aren’t taking advantages of opportunities they have at the moment. Sometimes we think the Will of God is some distant, far off thing. However, we should understand that the Will of God is for TODAY. Be faithful with what you have TODAY and, if you’re faithful in that, God may see fit to give you more responsibility and opportunities tomorrow.

In Matthew 25:14-29 Jesus gives the parable of some stewards that were entrusted by their boss with large portions of his money, called “talents” while he went on a trip. Each talent was said to be worth about 20 years wages. Some had more than others, but they were all expected to be faithful, and even to invest, that which had been given to them while their master was away. As the story goes, one had 5 talents (The US equivalent to $2,669,500!), another 2 ($1,067,800!), and another 1 ($533,900!). But one of the stewards wasn’t faithful with what he had, and it was taken away from him and given to another who was faithful. He didn’t take advantage of current opportunities, whether because of fear or misunderstanding, and he missed out on further opportunities that could have been.

What can we learn from this?

1. Be a good steward of the TIME God has given you!

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

Are you a waster of time? When you have extra time, what do you find yourself doing? Do you find time to read your Bible, pray, witness, be at church, serve others, or is it hard to squeeze those things into your busy schedule? Each minute that passes is another minute that we can never get back. Where are we investing our time?

2. Be a good steward of the TREASURES God has given you!

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16:10-13

Mammon, in this passage, is just another word for material wealth. Are you a good steward of the earthly “treasure” God has given to you? Do you regularly give to your church, to world missions, and to the poor and needy? These are the three classifications of giving in the Bible. Or, do you waste your money on things that don’t matter. Do you pay your bills on time? Are you a good steward of your money? This is all part of knowing the Will of God! How can he trust you with much, if you’re not faithful in the little?

3. Be a good steward of the TALENTS God has given you!

“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48b

“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:12

God has given each person certain abilities and talents that others may not possess, but it is all for a purpose. It’s for the edifying (building up) of the body, the church! If you aren’t using your ability for God, what are you using it for? Are you faithful in applying your gifts to serve others, to help others, to lift others up, and ultimately to Glorify Christ? Do you seek to grow in your abilities to further minister with them? If not, I challenge you to look for areas in which you can serve and apply the talents that God has entrusted to you!

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How do we know God’s will for our lives? First, we looked at the fact that we must be in the Family of God. Second, that we must be in Fellowship with God. Third, that we be Faithful to God in even the smallest things. Stay tuned for the last, part 4, of this series.

 

 

4 Steps to Knowing God’s Will (PART 2)


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PART 2

(Click here to see other posts in this series as they’re posted)

Be Sure You’re In Fellowship With God!

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27

If you want to know God’s will for your life, you must be in fellowship with God. In other words, if you aren’t listening, you won’t hear him! This is where we just do what we already know we are supposed to do as a Christian. It becomes not just a duty, but our deepest desire to know God and to hear his voice!

1. Get Into The Bible

“Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25b-27

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

The best way to know what God wants for your life is to take his word for it! It is amazing to me how many well-intended Christians want to serve God, but they’ve never read the love-letter, instruction manual, and road map that he’s given them! Have you read it? Get into God’s Word and let it get into you! You will be amazed at how God will wash away things in your life that don’t matter, he’ll give you wisdom and guidance for the journey. Here are a couple of tips:

Find a regular time you can read. For me, it’s in the morning before I do anything else. It helps me to focus and start out my day with God’s word in my mind. Some might not be able to focus early on, so the evening works better for them. Whatever you do, make it a priority and don’t let other things draw you away from it!

Set a regular pace. You don’t have to read 100 chapters a day to be spiritual, but you should read something. I use a reading plan which lays out my daily reading each day to get through the Bible systematically.

Don’t read just to read. Read to understand. Read to be convicted. Read to know God. Read, asking God to show you something for today. He will, you just have to focus and look for it!

2. Find Time To Pray

“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lordteach us to pray” Luke 11:1

Reading God’s word is how God speaks to us. Praying is how we speak to God. Cast your cares on him. You don’t have to use big, flowery words, just talk to him! He’s a person, and you can come to him as a dad. He wants to hear you. He longs for you to talk to him. Why do you talk to everybody else before talking to the one that cares the most? There’s much that could be said about prayer, but perhaps we’ll save that for another post. Learn to pray.

3. Get Around Other Believers

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:19-25

This is a lengthy passage, but I want you to see something. If you’re in God’s family, you have access to him! You can come with boldness! Because of this, you should come near him,  you should hold fast to him, and you should get around others to help and be helped. It’s been said that nobody is an island. Your life affects somebody, and you are constantly affected by others. Some say that they can worship God on their own, and that’s true, but it’s not God’s purpose for you to live the Christian life alone. Get around others who will excite you, exhort you and encourage you. You need the church. The church needs you. In scripture, the church is often described as a body. You should find your place in the body.

4. Maintain An Attitude of Repentance

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:7-10

When you accepted Christ as Savior, God took your account of sin and marked it “paid in full!” He then took your record of goodness, and wrote down all of the righteousness of Christ. So, eternally, before God, I am accepted through Christ. My sin isn’t written down anymore! (See 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). However, we still battle the sinful desires of the flesh. Sometimes, you will mess up. God still accepts you eternally, but by our sin we can hinder our relationship while here in this body. This might seem confusing, but think of it this way; our lives are like a lamp. We are meant to give light to a dark place, but if the lamp is dirty, our light doesn’t go very far. We can be bright on the inside, but with dirt, grime and crud caked up on the outside, we won’t be able to fulfill our purpose. This is why we ought to maintain an attitude of repentance. When we mess up, just get back up, asking God for help. He is a merciful and patient God. He is the God of second (and third and fourth and….) chances. Isn’t that great?

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So, to know God’s will, first you must be sure you’re in the family of God! Second, be sure you stay in fellowship with God. Stay tuned for Part 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Steps To Knowing God’s Will (PART 1)


As a young person, there was nothing I wanted more than to know what I was supposed to do with my life and how to do it. It was always something that was somewhat mystifying to me. Will I get a vision? Will I start shaking? Will I see a light? … The list goes on. Little did I know that God’s will isn’t some distant, hard-to-understand object to be desired, rather, it is something we can know, we can grasp, and we can live.

I think there are many people out there today that would claim to be Christian, but they still haven’t figured out the purpose God has for their lives. Maybe that’s you. Maybe you long to know how to be right in the middle of God’s will, but you’re not sure where to start. Over the next few days, I’d like to share a little of what I’ve learned in this area. I think this series of posts will be a help to you.

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PART ONE

(Click here to see other posts in this series as they’re posted)

Be Sure You’re In The Family!

It is amazing to me how many people are religious but still “lost” according to the Bible. Consider what Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

You see, there are many things done in the “name of Jesus” by people who don’t even know Him! As one preacher put it, this is the hard way to Hell. Religion is hard work, but religion isn’t enough! So, just how can you know you’re saved? How can you be in the family?

1. Know Your Sinful Condition

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:10

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3: 23

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:20

If we never see ourselves as sinners, we’ll never need to be saved. You must admit that you need a Savior before Jesus can save you. The truth is, all of us have done wrong.

2. Know the Consequence of Sin

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

So, the payment for sins, contrary to popular belief, isn’t works. Most believe that if they do more good than bad that God will let them into heaven. But the payment for sin, according to God’s word, is death. This “death” is also known as the second death, or Hell. That is what we deserve. To make sure you’re in the family of God, you MUST KNOW THIS! If you were to die today, and stand before God, would you be found innocent or guilty? Have you broken His law? The payment for breaking his law is death. Somebody has to pay this penalty.

3. Know that Christ died in your place

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” Galatians 3:13

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Christ is our only hope. You may have heard that he died on the cross, but why? He did it for you and me. He did it because it was the only way. Somebody had to die, and through his death, all of our sins were paid for. And now, through his resurrection we have victory over sin, hell and the grave. Only through Christ do we have a chance of Heaven, because HE is the only way, the truth and the life! (See John 14:6).

4. Repent and Believe on Christ

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

“And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18

So friend, you may have been playing a game all of your life… that all changes now. Make sure you’re in the family! Don’t put it off! Don’t let pride stop you! Repent and Believe on Christ. What does it mean to repent? It means a change of mind, or in other words, you turn from believing in your own goodness and works, your religion, a religious act, your church or your family, and you turn COMPLETELY to Christ. Believe on him. Don’t just believe IN him (that’s knowing about him), but believe ON him (that’s putting all of your confidence in him)!

What are you trusting in to get to you to Heaven? Be sure you’re in the family! Call on Christ today, accept Him as your only Savior, and he will adopt you into the family!

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” John 1:12

Once you’re “born again” (John 3:3-7), you can have complete peace that you’re in the family of God. We can be secure in our salvation, because it doesn’t depend on us to keep us saved. It depends completely on Jesus Christ and what he has already done for us! (See John 10:27-30). Once we’re in, we’re in. (See 1 John 5:13).

Are you in the Family? Are you saved? That is the first step to knowing God’s will.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series.

Hope In The Pope?


hope in the pope

 

“¡Viva el Papa! ¡Viva el Papa! ¡Viva el Papa! ¡Viva el Papa!”

I tuned in yesterday afternoon in time to hear multitudes of Catholics from all over the world chanting in expectation of their new leader. Flags were waving all over the Vatican. The cry of the crowd was a cry of enthusiasm, expectation and energy as the new pope was to be revealed.

Then, as the curtains were pulled back, it was announced that the pope was none other than Argentine Jorge Bergoglio, who chose the name Pope Francis. Indeed, this man is the first Latin American to ever be chosen as Catholicism’s Papal leader.

He is a simple man, choosing to be as much among the people as possible, live a simple life, help the poor and deny many of life’s dainties for the “greater good.”

He led the people in reciting the Lord’s Prayer, then a prayer to Mary.

You could see expressions of hope on the faces of all who listened.

Hope.

…But is there hope in the pope?

I need to be careful here, because my intention is not to carelessly offend those that hold to the catholic teachings. But could I be so bold as to say, Catholicism, at its core teaching, is leading over a billion people to hell.

Why is that?

Don’t Catholics believe in God? Don’t they believe in the Bible? Don’t they believe that Jesus died on the cross?

Yes, they believe all of these truths.

But what is different between biblical Christianity and catholic teaching? Simply put, it’s a matter of do vs. done. 

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Christian initiation is accomplished by means of the sacraments which establish the foundations of Christian life. The faithful born anew by Baptism are strengthened by Confirmation and are then nourished by the Eucharist.”

Their teachings go on to express that there are 7 sacraments of the church, and in keeping these sacraments you will have favor with God and earn salvation.

But ask any catholic if they know where they will spend eternity and they always reply, “I don’t know” or “you can’t know” or “I won’t know until after I die.”

Why is that? Because salvation is depending on what they do. They are initiated into the church as a baby when they are baptized, they go through confirmation as a child or young adult, and they take the communion. They confess their sins to the priest, pray to Mary, pray to the saints and other idols, and help the poor, but it comes down to one question: What is their salvation depending on? DO or DONE!?

Friend, there is no hope in the pope. He is just a man. He may be a nice man, but he is a man who is leading people down a religious road straight to an eternity that is separated from God.

Salvation is only by grace through faith. It is either grace or it is works. It cannot be both. Jesus already bought our salvation, and offers it as a gift to all who will believe on him. Why are you trying so hard to earn it?

If you have never been biblically saved, if you are still trying to work your way to God, if you don’t know for sure if you’re eternity will be Heaven or Hell, I challenge you to do one thing. Repent.

Repent of your sin and your faith in works or religion. Then believe on Jesus. Run to Jesus. Throw out any other hope that you have and cling to the cross where Jesus paid for your sins. He says he will forgive you. He will accept you. He will make you his child and an heir to all promises. He promises to give you life. Don’t wait any longer.

The Bible says in John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

You have God’s word on it. He never breaks his promises. Don’t wait any longer. Believe on Jesus.

Christian, maybe you agree with all that I’ve written here. Would you pray with me for the billions around the world that are deceived by religion? Would you pray with me that God would raise up more laborers to take the GOOD NEWS to them, that Jesus paid it all? Would you pray that God would open their eyes, that they would know the truth, and this truth would make them free?

 

 

 

 

Monster Theology


“Daaaadddaaaaa!” She screamed at the top of her lungs. “Come here Daddy! I need you!”

It was 4 AM this morning. My precious 2 1/2-year-old daughter Amira was crying in desperation. So, what’s a good dad to do? Down to her room I went.

At first sight of me she seemed relieved, and immediately she exclaimed, “I need some milk.” We talked some, quenched her thirst, and the conversation quickly went from her dry throat to more pressing issues.

“I need to sleep with you in Mommy’s bed” (funny how that works, isn’t it?). “No dear,” I replied, “you can stay in your bed. Just a couple more hours until the sun comes up. Your bed is nice and comfortable!”

“But there are monsters on my wall.”

She said it in such a matter-of-fact manner that I had to try to keep from chuckling.

Turns out, the monsters were not just on her wall, but also in the closet, under the bed, and on the ceiling, she told me. Honestly, I don’t know where she got that idea, but she was fully convinced of the infestation.

I showed her how safe her room was, that monsters weren’t real, then I assured her that God is in our house and he keeps the monsters and other scary things away. She got tucked in and slept for a few more hours, and woke up nice and cheerful as if nothing had ever happened.  Thank goodness.

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How many times do we act the same way? All around us there are “monsters” out to gobble us up. Maybe not the big, hairy, green ones, but our fear manifests itself in other ways.

  • I can’t try anything new because I might fail
  • I can’t witness because people might reject me
  • I can’t give to the church or missions because I might not have enough for other bills
  • I can’t speak to anybody about God because I might make them angry, and I might even be persecuted

It shows up in missions all around the world. May I be bold to say, Fear-based Christianity and fear-based missions is sin.

Why is it that the most frequent command in Scripture is to fear not? I believe that there are 2 prominent reasons:

1. Fear causes us to magnify a lie instead of Jesus

What is fear? It is worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet! Satan whispers a doubt, a lie, an unfounded anxiety, and we swallow it. That’s why we find the following in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Anything that makes itself greater than my God is an idol and must be torn down. Tear down your fear. Bring your thoughts into captivity. Trust Christ.

2. Fear causes us to miss God’s will

When fear controls your life, the Devil gets the victory because you’ve already given up. “There’s no use in trying.” many might say. When we think of reaching the world with the Gospel, what is the greatest hinderance? We have missed it because we’re dominated by fear. Paul told one of the young men he mentored in 2 Timothy 1:6-9:

“6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”

He had to remind Timothy of something that was forgotten. Fear doesn’t have to own you. God has something greater for you. The power to defeat that fear is already in you.  If you don’t squash that fear, you will miss God’s plan for your life!

Christian, What’s your fear? What’s the “Monster on the wall?” What’s lifting itself up above Jesus in your life? What’s holding you back from doing God’s will? It’s time to lay it aside and trust Christ. It’s time to live boldly for the ONE who gave all for us.

 

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